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Parliamentary questions
24 April 2009
WRITTEN QUESTION by Genowefa Grabowska (PSE) to the Commission

 Subject: Commission on credit card payments

I thank the Commission sincerely for its reply detailing the measures it has so far adopted with regard to the interchange fees applied by MasterCard and Visa Europe, which were in breach of EU competition rules.

Under Article 81 of the EC Treaty, to which the Commission refers, the Commission was required to act in this area and it is to be welcomed that successful results have been achieved. It is regrettable, however, that Poland is yet to experience the benefits of this.

It must not be overlooked that the rates of commission charged in individual EU Member States still vary considerably. I previously pointed out, by way of example, that in the countries of the ‘old Europe’ the rates were much lower than those charged in some ‘new’ EU countries. In Germany, for example, commission charged on fuel purchases ranges from 0.4 % to 0.9 %, while in Poland it ranges from 1.3 % to 1.7 % and may be as high as 3 % for other consumer goods. As a result, German consumers generally enjoy a clear advantage over their Polish counterparts, who are paying higher costs for the same transaction for no apparent reason.

These discrepancies clearly show that the rights of Polish consumers are being infringed, whereas the laws and policies of the European Union are meant to safeguard the interests of all consumers. In addition, ensuring equal rights and non-discrimination among consumers is one of the main priorities for improving the quality of life of all Europeans (a global objective of the European Union). Furthermore, in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 38 — Consumer protection), European Union policies are required to ensure a high level of consumer protection.

I should therefore like to ask the Commission once again: will it take specific measures in this area to guarantee that all European consumers (including the Poles) enjoy equal protection and equal rights in the European common market?

Original language of question: PLOJ C 189, 13/07/2010
Last updated: 28 April 2009Legal notice